Nolan: Marvel’s Crossover Agenda Won’t Work For Batman
While The Dark Knight dominated the summer movie market, Marvel pulled off something incredible as well: creating the foundations for a Marvel movieverse. From Nick Fury mentioning The Avengers to Tony Stark’s cameo in The Incredible Hulk, Marvel Studios began a new era of crossover events that will culminate in The Avengers in 2011. Most fans are elated by this method, but there’s one guy who isn’t totally down with the concept, at least on his own franchise: Chris Nolan.
In the final portion of a three-part interview, The Dark Knight director Nolan tells The L.A. Times that "cross-fertilization" isn’t something that bodes well for his vision of the Caped Crusader.
"I don’t think our Batman, our Gotham, lends itself to that kind of cross-fertilization," says the filmmaker. "It goes back to one of the first things we wrangled with when we first started putting the story together: Is this a world in which comic books already exist? Is this a world in which superheroes already exist? If you think of Batman Begins and you think of the philosophy of this character trying to reinvent himself as a symbol, we took the position — we didn’t address it directly in the film, but we did take the position philosophically — that superheroes simply don’t exist. If they did, if Bruce knew of Superman or even of comic books, then that’s a completely different decision that he’s making when he puts on a costume in an attempt to become a symbol."
Nolan regards other super-hero films such as Superman Returns as coming from "a different universe. It’s a different way of looking at it. Now, it’s been done successfully, very successfully, in the comics so I don’t dispute it as an approach. It just isn’t the approach we took. We had to make a decision for Batman Begins."
Warner Bros. unleashed the wrath of a million super-hero lovers when they unveiled their plans for Justice League: Mortal. The film would have been released prior to solo adventures for the majority of the team’s roster, including The Flash, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman. Another strike against the film was its alleged casting choices, pitting newcomers and undesired stars alike in the roles of fan favorite characters. Adam Brody (The O.C.) would’ve played Wally West, Common (Wanted) would’ve played John Stewart, and Megan Gale (Stealth) would’ve played Wonder Woman.
One of the biggest casting controversies came in the form of Armie Hammer. The 22-year-old actor, whose most high profile project to date is a guest stint on Desperate Housewives, was attached to the play Batman in Justice League. For fans of Nolan’s work, it was bad enough that Bale wouldn’t be involved in the team-up flick. Hammer’s involvement was the salt in the wound.
Some comfort can be taken in the fact that the WB announced a refocusing of their DC Comics properties, taking a cue from Marvel’s crossover agenda. To date, Green Lantern is moving forward with Hal Jordan as the hero and Green Arrow will headline the super-human prison escape flick Super Max. There’s already talk about a third Nolan-helmed Batman and active plans for a Superman relaunch, which Mark Millar is heavily lobbying for.
But despite all of this, the Justice League: Mortal actors are still attached to the project on IMDb, which is slated for a 2011 release date. Within the last few months, Armie Hammer has spoken about the film as if it’s still on the horizon. In the end, it might take a real life Justice League to ensure that Justice League the movie can match the inevitable success that The Avengers is poised to see.